For the second time this month, I will be in Floyd County Circuit Court, covering hearings for The Floyd Press. It will be a rare time to work in a Commonwealth where we’re under orders to stay-at-home. It will also be a welcome break from monotony.
Like most Courts in Virginia, the Circuit Courtroom in Floyd is under orders to meet only if necessary. The state Supreme Court is on the second extension of 21-day shutdown orders.
Some hearings, however, require timely attention but only under certain conditions. The courtroom is closed to the public. Only lawyers, courtroom personnel like the bailiff, court reporter, Circuit Court clerk, necessary sheriff’s deputies and, of course, the judge, along with members of the news media.
As the Press contract reporter assigned to cover the courts, I’m the one who gets to sit in an empty gallery. Social distancing is easy in this situation and Judge Marc Long wears a mask. Defenders usually appear via video.
As noted earlier, this is a welcome break. In a normal April, I would be covering the court at least once a week and spending most afternoon shoot photos of high school baseball, softball, soccer, tennis and track. With schools closed for the rest of the school year, the photo assignments don’t exist in this pandemic.
On Monday, I wrote about “quarantine fatigue” and the trouble many have in staying home. About a dozen motorcyclists gathered in the parking area outside the Circle K on Main Street in Floyd this weekend. They weren’t practicing social distancing as they took a break to gas up, drink some refreshments, and socialize with each other.
A young couple cuddled together in the gazebo of Warren Lineberry Park on Locust Street in Floyd. They were socializing, not distancing.
Let’s hope their actions do not add to the one confirmed case of COVID-19 Coronavirus infection in Floyd County.